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Montessori teacher Angela Ma (Follow the Child Montessori, Raleigh, NC) has written a lovely picture book for you to share with your children. Ms. Ma offers a simple yet elegant explanation (with gorgeous illustrations) of why so many of us are home-bound during this pandemic. She has made it available free for anyone to download.
Here's what Ms. Ma has to say about her motivation for writing this story:
"I wrote this social story, complete with a drawing of my own adorable family, to offer a simple explanation for the reason we're all staying-at-home. Presenting a perspective of helpfulness and community empowers our young children to feel a sense of agency and connection. When we enter back into the community on the other side of this global experience, the opportunity to focus on social solidarity may likely have a more positive and protective impact on our children’s sense of security and well-being. I hope it is helpful to families who are looking for ways to support their children through this experience."
Print it out, bind it with ribbon, and read often! Then, inspire your children to make their own books about things that are important to them. Win-win!
If you are looking for ways to help guide your child in the Montessori method from home, here are some quick and simple activities you can try. These should be of interest to children from around ages 3 to 6 years. Adapt your pace to match your child’s interest and abilities. Keep in mind that we always want the child to think that they are too smart for the work, not that the work is too hard for them. When they witness themselves succeeding, their self-confidence will grow.
Spoken Language Activities
Recite poems together, rhyming or otherwise. Start with shorter ones and encourage memorization (try to memorize them yourself before asking your child to). Sing songs together. Recite tongue twisters and try to say them fast!
When I visit classrooms, one of the common challenges the adult's face is finding or making the perfect apron. We want our aprons to be color-coded to match each of our ever-changing practical life activities. We want them to fit all of the children in our environment, from the petite 2.5 year-old to the towering 6 year-old, from the little heads to the rather large heads and/or hair styles. We want them to be washable and water-resistant. And we want them to have matching table/floor mats so that it is clear which items belong with which activity. In short, we want perfection!
But what about independence? Should the aprons be able to be used independently by everyone in the room or should they offer opportunities to practice different fastening techniques and/or solicit assistance from other children? What is the right level of fastener challenge? In short, how do we create an apron that is attractive, effective, a mode of activity (purposeful work in and of itself), and that the children can put-on properly (no arm elastics scrunched up on the shoulders or straps hanging off the sides)?